Saturday, December 18, 2010

An apparent lie about Obama's birth certificate

I would have thought that a raised seal seen from the front would look like an incised seal from the back but the author below thinks otherwise. I think a comparison with an Hawaiian COLB known to be genuine would be needed to settle the matter

On August 21, 2008, Factcheck.org published an article, Born in the U.S.A. which they claimed contained “The truth about Obama’s birth certificate.” It turns out, however, that this article contains at least one enormous bold-faced lie.

In June of 2008, an image of an alleged Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) issued Certification of Live Birth (COLB) belonging to U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama was posted online. In response to speculation that the alleged COLB did not contain a ‘raised seal’ or registrar’s signature, Factcheck.org published this article and in it, they wrote the following:

“We can assure readers that the certificate does bear a raised seal, and that it’s stamped on the back by Hawaii state registrar Alvin T. Onaka…We even brought home a few photographs.

In the same article, Factcheck.org provided links to photographs of the seal and signature found on the back of Obama’s alleged COLB. However, the photographs of the seal’s emblem and text do not show a “raised seal,” at all, they show an ‘incised seal’ – one that is cut into or impressed into the paper:

In fact, Factcheck.org posted links to photos of the back of the ‘incised seal’ found on Obama’s alleged COLB which can be seen on the front of the alleged COLB. These photos show the emblem has been pushed all the way through the paper leaving a raised reversed impression of the seal’s emblem and text on the other side.

Then, in the same article, Factcheck.org featured a cropped photo of the back of Obama’s ‘incised seal’ and they captioned it, ‘The raised seal.‘

Factcheck.org did not bother to feature a published photo of the front of the ‘incised seal’ found on Obama’s alleged COLB within their article on the ‘truth’ about Obama’s birth certificate. They only provided links to view the photographs separately from the article.

Factcheck.org makes the claim they “are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”

However, one request using open records law, a real tool of governmental and political oversight, would have shown Factcheck.org that the Hawaii Department of Health always certifies copies of birth certificates issued by their agency with a ‘raised seal’

More HERE (See the original for links & images)

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The useless TSA

TSA under fire after businessman boards international flight with loaded handgun

The effectiveness of security at U.S. ports is being questioned after a businessman accidentally travelled on a flight with a loaded handgun in his luggage.

Iranian-American Farid Seif was screened by Trasport Security Administration officials at Houston airport in Texas. His hand luggage was also X-rayed before he took off on his international flight.

It wasn't until Mr Seif arrived at his hotel several hours later that he realised that he had forgotten to unpack a loaded snub nose Glock pistol from his luggage before he embarked on his journey.

'It's just impossible to miss it, you know. I mean, this is not a small gun,' Mr Seif told ABC News. 'How can you miss it? You cannot miss it.'

According to ABC, security slip-ups in the U.S. are not rare. The news network claims experts have confided that 'every year since the September 11 terror attacks, federal agencies have conducted random, covert "red team tests", where undercover agents try to see just how much they can get past security checks at major U.S. airports'.

ABC added that, while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security closely guards those test results, those that have leaked have been 'shocking'.

Undercover TSA agents testing security at a Newark airport terminal on one day in 2006 found that TSA screeners failed to detect concealed bombs and guns 20 out of 22 times, the news network claimed.

And a 2007 government audit revealed that undercover agents were successful slipping simulated explosives and bomb parts through Los Angeles's LAX airport in 50 out of 70 attempts. At Chicago's O'Hare airport, agents made 75 attempts and succeeded in getting through undetected 45 times.

SOURCE

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Those Damn Rich People

Among other things, Frank Salvato below points to the large charitable activities of the rich. I am not in Obama's "rich" category but I am comfortably situated and have only small personal needs so I donate money to someone nearly every week. And I made my money by working for it. It was not given to me -- JR

Throughout the debate over the extension of the tax rates, aka the Bush tax cuts, we have witnessed a concerted effort by Democrats and Progressives to demonize the wealthy. This demonization has crossed over into the on-going argument over the Estate Tax, aka the Death Tax. At every turn we are made to feel that the wealthy have no right to “monopolize” all of their riches when government could use a goodly portion of that wealth to “help” the down-trodden, the disenfranchised and the less fortunate. Truth be told, the government can’t do anything equal to what the wealthy in the private sector do to “help” those individuals.

Before we get into the issue of the rich and their wealth, let’s dispense with the myth that government can create jobs. Oh sure, the government can create employment through expanding the reach of government; by expanding government as an entity, but those jobs require an increase in taxation on the rank-and-file citizenry in order to cover the paychecks issued to those government workers. Government – aside from the blood-money interest produced by TARP and the ill-gotten gains of government through the hostile takeover of General Motors – cannot create wealth, ergo; it does not have the ability to amass wealth in order to expand; in order to create jobs. Simply put, when government creates a job, that employee is paid by the taxpayer, not the government; that employee is paid by the private sector.

If we are to believe Progressive activists like Congressman Anthony Weiner (P-NY), who say, “...Does it make sense that people who get, who make a million or a billion dollars in income should get tax cuts and Social Security recipients shouldn’t get a cost of living adjustment,” then we would have to believe that an individual’s earnings – not just the wealthy, but anyone – are subject to an arbitrary and ever-changing threshold that determines who is wealthy and who is a common man. This threshold, consequently, is set by politicians who today do a damn fine job of using taxpayer dollars to grease the handles in the voting booths, if you get my drift.

Which leads me to a critical point; just what do Progressives and Democrats think that the wealthy people do with their money once they make it? Do they believe that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Peter Lewis and George Soros, convert their money into gold coins and wallow in the massive piles of sparkling decadence? Well, they probably do – or at least they would like you to believe they do.

In reality, the wealthy always – always – deposit their earnings, their wealth, their riches, in a bank. They might take a portion of their earnings and buy stocks or bonds. The point is this; the money that the wealthy earn is literally reinvested into the private sector through their deposits and investments. Banks take the deposits and turn them into loans for the private sector, both for individuals and entrepreneurs. The money that the wealthy invest in stocks and bonds go to finance small and large businesses and corporations alike, and sometimes those corporations, especially the small businesses, use that capital to expand. And what does the expansion of small business mean? Jobs.

Conversely, when the government confiscates wealth from the wealthy it is not spent on the needs of those on Social Security (no COLA this year, again) or those on Medicare (cuts are already taking place), those funds go to establish behemoth, destined to fail programs like Obamacare or to extend, yet again, unemployment benefits and misappropriated benefits for illegal immigrants who shouldn’t have a seat at the US taxpayer’s teat.

And what of the greedy wealthy people with hearts of stone and their contemptuous manners? That’s the picture that people like Congressman Weiner want people to paint of the wealthy, isn’t it? The rich, the wealthy, the privileged are people unwilling to “pay their fair share”; people who always look down on those “less fortunate.” Isn’t that the class warfare rhetoric that we continuously hear from the Progressives and the Liberal Left?

True story. I know a couple that most people would consider rather well off; wealthy, in fact. They have more than one home and both are quite nice. They are able to travel when they like and they enjoy the finer things in life. The man worked very hard to make a success of a family business and has reached a plateau that few realize in life. Bottom line, he worked very hard for his success and that hard work came complete with the sacrifices that one has to make in order to achieve that success: issues that affected family, issues that found him working long hours and even hours that encroached on special occasions and holidays. But with that hard work and sacrifice and over a lifetime, they arrived at their station, and deservedly so.

Now, Congressman Weiner would have you believe that not only should my friends pay more in taxes than everyone else, seeing as they surpass Mr. Weiner’s threshold for being wealthy, but, and this is by Mr. Weiner’s own admission, they should pay more even after they die. When asked recently by FOX News’ Megan Kelly whether the Death Tax – the Estate Tax – was fair, whether it was immoral to tax a person’s wealth twice, Mr. Weiner callously exclaimed, “You aren’t paying anything in that case because you’ll be dead.” Wow!

Far from being the coldhearted cretins Congressman Weiner would have you believe rich people are, those who have achieved wealth – the American dream, by the way – are the ones who engage in philanthropy; they give to charities, to religious institutions, to private sector programs and sometimes, out of the goodness of their hearts, to other individuals, just because they see someone in need.

Every now and again – and it is more often than one would suspect – this husband and wife, this wealthy couple, these “coldhearted” millionaires, go to the bank and take out a sizeable amount of cash (at least to you and me) in $20 bills. They then go down to the USO at the international airport in their city and hand out all of the money to the soldiers who are in transit so that they can get themselves a meal, use the local Internet cafĂ©, call their loved ones while they are on layover, etc., each time thanking each and every soldier for their service, their sacrifice and the sacrifices made by their families.

In addition, they help to fund organizations that provide medical care for sick children and organizations that quest to educate the public on Americanism and the threats to our country.

These are who the “wealthy” people in America are; patriots, job creators, philanthropists, Mothers and Fathers; excellent human beings who want what is best, not only for their children but for everyone’s children; honest hard-working people who would rather help someone by providing them the wherewithal to make a living than to see them sucked into the government abyss of cyclical dependency.

So, the next time you hear a Progressive like Anthony Weiner pompously spouting off about how the wealthy are evil and how the only savior for the down-trodden is government, ask yourself this question: who took money that could have created a private sector job for someone who is unemployed and, instead, spent it on sea turtle tunnels and salt marsh mouse sanctuaries?

Then think about how our soldiers feel when complete strangers come up to them in airports – perhaps during the Christmas season when they are far from their loved ones – and say, “Thank you for your service and your sacrifices...please, have lunch on me.” Who, I ask you, uses the money more appropriately?

More HERE

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Lies that the media eagerly slurp up

Facts and evidence have never bothered Leftists

Few have mastered the art of dissimilation more than long time Palestinian Arab spokesman, Saeb Erakat, who continues to be taken seriously by the ever gullible western media.

Now in his late middle age, Erakat continues to spew howlers as he has been doing for several decades, yet he still retains the confidence of mainstream western journalists and reporters – especially those of the Left. So, true to form, Erakat chose The Guardian newspaper, one of Britain’s most left leaning and anti-Israel dailies to let fly another howler.

According to Erakat’s recent Op-Ed in The Guardian, there are now seven million Palestinian Arab refugees. This is seven times the number of Arabs who foolishly left their homes in 1948 when ordered to do so by the corrupt Arab League, while at the same time seven Arab armies were invading the fledgling and re-born Jewish state with the intention of committing genocide against its Jewish citizens.

Incidentally, 850,000 Jewish refugees were systematically driven from their homes throughout the Arab world. Most found refuge in Israel. And the 200,000 Arabs (including some 100,000 who were later allowed by Israel to return) who ignored their leaders and remained in Israel now number 1.2 million; some 20% of the Jewish state’s population. But Erakat would never mention those facts.

The Arab leaders who call themselves Palestinians often accuse Israel of committing a “holocaust” against the Palestinian Arabs. At the same time, they inflate the numbers of these same Arabs in an almost precipitous and distorted bell curve. If only the Jewish victims of the real Holocaust would have suffered in such a fashion, there would not have been six million dead but - using Erakat’s bizarre mathematics - forty million additional Jewish souls alive today.

That is the extent of the lies, damned lies, and statistics that people like Erakat routinely spew. The tragedy is that so many in the West are ever willing to swallow such garbage

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

The latest New York Times nonsense about Lincoln: "At the outset of the War to Prevent Southern Independence both Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress declared publicly that the sole purpose of the war was to save the union and not to interfere with Southern slavery. Lincoln himself stated this very clearly in his first inaugural address and in many other places. This fact bothers the court historians of the Lincoln cult who have in the past forty years rewritten American history to suggest that slavery was the sole cause of the war.”

Have Uncle Sam buy you alpacas: "Politicians like Bernie Sanders promise that they will ’save family farming’ and ’strengthen family-based agriculture.’ The result: lots of special tax exemptions for farmers. Livestock owners don’t have to pay any taxes on income that they then spend on their business. They can write off property taxes. For breeding animals, they can pay capital gains tax (15%) instead of income tax, which may be 30%. Most people don’t want to run, say, a cattle farm. But there is an animal that qualifies for all the tax breaks — but acts more like a pet. It’s called the alpaca. Alpaca breeding has boomed since people found out about the tax benefits.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Center/Right Sweden shows the way

The ebbing away of socialist dominance came just in time for Sweden

Not everything in the European Union is rotten. A few countries stand out for grounding their economic model on sounder foundations in the second part of this waning decade. They show the rest of Europe the way.

Sweden is one such case. In the last quarter, this Scandinavian kingdom achieved an Asian-style rate of economic growth—6.9 percent—compared to last year. Although the reforms of the governing “bourgeois” bloc—the Moderates, the Centrists, the Liberals and the Christian-Democrats—are more gradual than bolder spirits would want, Sweden has been steadily paring down the statist excesses of the socialist era that for most of the 20th century was eponymous with the country. This is why the coalition was re-elected three months ago.

Before and after the financial crisis of 2008, the government maintained a prudent fiscal policy, substantially reducing the debt in times of plenty. Even in the aftermath of the bursting of the housing bubble, when government stimulus was the universal policy du jour, Sweden incurred a deficit of barely 1 percent of the size of the economy (the fiscal purse will soon be in the black again). In the last four years, taxes, especially those that hampered job creation, came down while subsidies that encourage idleness were slashed. In turn, private banks, which had lent heavily in the Baltic states, have weathered the financial storm thanks to the rebound of that region.

By contrast, economic growth in the troubled eurozone will average between zero and 1 percent this year, while the markets continue to bet, despite the bailouts, that Greece and Ireland will default on their sovereign debt; that Portugal will be the next theater of financial drama; and that Spain, struggling under government deficits and private debt, is too big to fail and too big to be rescued.

It is particularly ironic that the shining star in this dark firmament is Sweden, long regarded as a socialist paradise. Sweden ceased to be that a long time ago, as many scholars have explained. This is a country where education and health care underwent the type of reform—the adoption of choice and competition, a decentralization that returned power to parents, students and patients—that causes howls of protest in the United States and other European nations. In 2009, the government expanded the reforms: Patients are now free to choose their care centers, and private companies are free to enter the system as primary health providers.

Over the years, Sweden did a much better job publicizing its multinationals—Ericsson’s technology, Ikea’s furniture, Volvo’s luxury cars, SCA’s paper products, etc.—than its gradual break from the socialist myth that fed the imagination of intellectuals and politicians.

The Swedes were able to build a highly interventionist model during part of the 20th century because they had accumulated, since the 19th century, an extraordinary amount of capital due to their innovative businesses. Their entrepreneurial rise had in part been rooted in a history of bottom-up structures—a rule-of-law tradition and a peasantry steeped in private property—that spared Sweden the feudal legacy that preserved stark class distinctions in other parts of Europe. The subsequent socialist era consumed part of the capital and sapped a big deal of the productive energy. But once it reached a crisis point, it was gradually reformed during part of the last couple of decades. The current government has gone further.

Will Sweden continue to succeed despite the rigors of the European environment in the years to come? After all, there is $2 trillion of sovereign debt outstanding in so-called peripheral countries of the EU—and most of the creditors are European banks. Sweden’s prime minister, the popular 45-year-old Fredrik Reinfeldt, is convinced that some countries, particularly Britain, where painful remedies are being adopted, will be successful. Sweden, half of whose industrial output is related to engineering and whose economy is geared toward worldwide trade, should continue to play a salient role in global technology.

However, the Swedish government is also highly pessimistic about Spain. And if it is right in its prognosis, it is hard to see how the general European environment will not directly challenge Sweden. Given its economic magnitude, a Spanish crisis of the Greek and Irish kind would probably impair the chances of recovery for the European Union for years to come.

SOURCE

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Liberals Love Death Panels

When Sarah Palin correctly pointed out that Obamacare had built in death panels that would ultimately lead to needed medical treatments to seniors being cut to save money, the Left flipped out. They claimed that it was crazy to suggest that there was something like that in the bill and they assured everyone that they would never, ever, ever back something like that, and that they were offended that Palin even suggested it.

Of course, there was one problem with that assertion: Liberals have no qualms about lying to the American people. They do it all the time. That's how they deal with the fact that many of their views are unpopular: They just lie about what they want to do. It's such a common occurrence that liberals often just assume liberal politicians who say things that differ from the liberal line are lying. For example, do you ever wonder why liberals, for the most part at least, give Barack Obama a pass for being against gay marriage? There's a simple reason for it: They think he's lying.

That's how it is with death panels. When a bill with death panels in it was in front of the American people, liberals claimed to be against death panels. But isn't it funny that since Obamacare became law, stories about liberals who support death panels keep dribbling out?

See, that's how it works. They lie to get you to support their position, then they start talking about it a little bit, and then eventually, liberals start talking about it en masse like everyone knew what they were getting into right from the start.

Want some examples?

Currently, Medicare is not allowed to deny a treatment based on cost alone, but in the coming years, "it will be difficult to sustain coverage of these very costly procedures considering the Medicare program is facing a huge long-term deficit," Howard says.

"Ten years, 20 years down the road, Congress is going to have to rewrite the law to allow cost to play into coverage decisions." -- David Howard, assistant professor in the department of Health Policy and Management at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.
"Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It's going to be that we're actually going to take Medicare under control, and we're going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT. But it's not going to happen now." -- Paul Krugman
That's a tradeoff society is making because of very, very high medical costs and a lack of willingness to say, you know, is spending a million dollars on that last three months of life for that patient, would it be better not to lay off those ten teachers and to make that tradeoff in medical costs. But that's called a death panel and you're not supposed to have that discussion. -- Bill Gates

Know why society never has that conversation, Bill? Because when conservatives point out that liberals want to do something unpopular, like kill old people by withholding medical treatment in order to save money, liberals deny that's what they believe. Hell, PolitiFact, which is a left-wing organization that pretends to be a right-down-the-middle outfit, actually declared that 'Death Panels' was the "Lie of the Year" for 2009. Certainly that wasn't true! Certainly that could never happen! Yet, the bill passed, and suddenly liberals are trying to lay the groundwork to kill Grandma because we can't have everyone else paying for her medical treatment.

Of course, the extra cost of paying for that medical treatment is built into the current system and it's one of the reasons prices have risen so fast. Could we cut the costs of medical treatment in the United States dramatically by cutting back on the amount of end-of-life medical treatment that we give people? Absolutely.

However, most Americans don't like this idea because they're good hearted people and also because they know that those they love may very well be in that position one day and they don't want to see them denied medical treatment. Conservatives tend to like the idea even less than the average American because we put a particularly high value on innocent human life. We're not the pro-life party for nothing. Liberals, on the other hand, kind of like the idea of letting old people die to save money for the state, but when it was time to make the case, they didn't have the guts to argue for what they believed in. So instead, they denied that was what they wanted to do, they put it in the bill anyway, and now they're trying to prepare the public for it while they hope some nameless, faceless, unelected committee full of bureaucrats will just force it on the American people.

Heck, if all you "useless eaters" out there who are a net drain on the state could be so kind as to go ahead and die, liberals like Hanna Rosin at Slate will even go so far as to call you a "hero" for it,
Ann Hulbert’s late mother is my new hero. In this lovely essay in the American Scholar, Ann describes how her mother, in her last months, turned down radical medical intervention of dubious value. She did not do this because she googled a million medical sites and called in favors from doctor friends who weighed the evidence. She did it in order to stay true to her temperament and her philosophy.

Here is the exchange between Ann’s mother and the doctor:
“If geezers like me have lots of tests and treatments,” she told the doctor, “there isn’t going to be enough money to spend on the other end. This health-care mess isn’t going to be fixed if we aren’t ready to get out of the way.” Nonplussed on his little stool, he shook his head and raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’ve heard that view before, but never from someone in your situation. People generally change their tune when it suddenly applies to them.”

If you choose not to get medical treatment to try to extend your life when you're very ill, that's your choice. Some people who are sick and in a lot of pain may look at the quality of their life and decide it's not worth it. I respect that decision. But, it doesn't make you a hero and honestly, it's sick to applaud a woman for ending her own life in order to "get out of the way" of the government's health care plan.

SOURCE

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All cancer patients are not the same

But in good Leftist style, the Obamabots pretend they are

Avastin is a cancer-fighting drug that works by starving tumors of vital nutrients and oxygen. Although Avastin doesn’t cure cancer, it can improve quality of life by slowing the disease’s spread. The Food and Drug Administration approved its use for colon cancer (2004), lung cancer (2006), and advanced breast cancer (2008).

But now the FDA is on the brink of rescinding that last approval, relegating breast cancer to the category of an “off-label” use. In our semi-socialized health care system, that’s significant because government-funded insurance plans (such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare, which serves the military) refuse to reimburse off-label prescriptions, and private insurers generally follow their lead.

Since an Avastin breast cancer regimen costs as much as $88,000 annually, withdrawal of FDA approval would, in effect, lock the medicine cabinet and throw the key onto a high shelf, unreachable by many desperately sick patients.

The FDA is slated to decide whether to follow the advice of its own Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee, which back in July voted 12-1 that Avastin does not “represent a favorable risk/benefit analysis.” Does that mean the drug fails to help any woman more than it hurts her? Not at all — many individual women benefit from the drug. But the FDA regards such facts as sentimental distractions, to be deliberately ignored when deciding the fate of a drug like Avastin. The FDA’s idea of a risk/benefit analysis deals with health in the aggregate, as revealed in statistics involving large populations, not with the health of individuals.

But can risks and benefits really be weighed at the level of society as a whole? A society is only a collection of individuals. A society doesn’t enjoy life, or suffer — only individuals do. Metaphors aside, a society doesn’t get sick and die — only individuals do. To appreciate the difference, consider how a rational patient with breast cancer decides whether to undergo drug treatment.

Such a patient weighs (among other things) the statistical likelihood of a favorable result against the statistical likelihood of painful side effects. At all times, her judgment is individual and personal: How will my life improve if these tumors temporarily stop growing? How might side-effects interfere with my enjoyment of life? How much better will I feel if the results are above average — or how much worse, if the results are below average? How much is an additional year, month, or week of relatively normal life worth to me?

The FDA’s experts take professional pride in refusing to allow such individual considerations to influence their decisions. Instead, they float among the statistical clouds, observing that Avastin delays tumor growth by only 3 to 12 weeks on average and that some patients actually get worse after taking the drug. From behind a veneer of scientific respectability supplied by charts and graphs that ignore the individual patient, these experts then ask a question to which no rational answer can be given: What is the meaning to society of one month in an individual’s life?

At this point, you may be sympathetic to these women’s plight and yet also concerned about the national economy. Won’t cancer patients spend us into bankruptcy with expensive drugs like Avastin? Well, that’s the kind of question that arises only when health care is collectivized by such programs as Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare.

The antidote is to challenge the notion that health care is a right, to be funded by shoving everyone’s wealth into one big pot and spreading it among those in need. On a free market, in which health care is purchased by a combination of private insurance, savings, and charity, your neighbor’s decision to take an expensive drug like Avastin will be no more concern of yours than his choice to wear an expensive watch or drink an expensive wine.

This ongoing Avastin travesty pits a cancer-fighting drug against a drug-fighting cancer — an out-of-control federal agency whose mission unashamedly includes choking off patients’ access to vital drugs. Reform should start by targeting the FDA’s power to substitute collectivized decisions for individual choice.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Reid abandons omnibus bill amid GOP opposition: "With Senate Republicans uniting against a massive $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill and threatening to demand a time-consuming oral reading of the 1,924-page measure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tonight elected to ditch the controversial bill. In recent days, Republicans blasted the $8.3 billion of earmarks in the measure and vowed to force an oral reading of it on the Senate floor.”

And So the Bias Begins again: "The Washington Post yesterday chose not to report results of its own poll revealing ObamaCare's lowest popularity ever -- but today was perfectly happy to trumpet the news that the"public is not yet sold on the GOP" (who haven't even taken control yet)! This kind of reporting, frankly, is just the shape of things to come for the Republicans. If they are going to succeed in actually getting things done and changing the way Washington does business, they are going to have to be willing to put up with predictable, relentless criticism from left-leaning MSM which knows -- and likes -- Washington as it has always been. It's a remarkable double standard, though, isn't it?"

An unhealthy mandate: "If you don’t want to pay the minimum wage, you can refuse to start a business. If you don’t want to buy car insurance, you can take the bus. But if you don’t want to buy health insurance, your only options are to leave the country or depart this vale of tears. The question in this case is not just whether this part of the health care reform will stand. It’s whether there are any limits on the powers of the federal government in matters economic.”

Former FBI agent to be top Republican on House Intel Committee: "Rep. Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and vocal critic of the Obama administration’s dealing with terrorists, will head the House Intelligence Committee when Republicans take control of the House next year. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday his choice of the Michigan Republican to lead the panel which oversees the secret work and the budgets of the 16 agencies and departments which make up the intelligence community.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Envy and Covetousness of Progressives

Get a load of this op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times: “Give Up on the Estate Tax” by Ray D. Madoff, a professor at Boston College Law School.

Referring to the estate tax, Madoff writes: “This tax, first enacted in 1916, was never intended to be simply a device for raising revenue. Rather, it was meant to address the phenomenon of a small number of Americans controlling large amounts of the country’s wealth — which was considered a national problem.”

Considered a national problem? By whom? Why, by progressives, of course — certain Americans in the early part of the 20th century who hated the fact that some people have more when others had less. What guided the progressives was envy and covetousness, which led inevitably to their ideology of using state power to take away money from the rich, with the purported aim of “equalizing wealth” within society by giving it away to the poor.

Of course, the amount to be redistributed was always less than the amount taxed because the selfless federal politicians and bureaucrats performing this important service expected to be paid handsome salaries for doing so.

Madoff quotes Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (one of the early progressives): “We can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have democracy, but we can’t have both.”

That has got to be one of the most ludicrous statements ever uttered. Democracy is a political process by which people cast their votes in elections. Even if most of the wealth is concentrated in a small group of people in a society, how does that prevent everyone else from going to the ballot box and casting their ballots?

When the socialists — oh, excuse me, the progressives — imported their statism to the United States, their justification was based on the notion that there is an inherent conflict between rich and poor in a totally free market. The rich not only keep getting richer, said the statists, but their wealth actually ensures that the poor stay poor.

That is one ludicrous notion. Actually, in a genuinely free market system, everyone’s interests harmonize. The rich provide the businesses and industries that hire the poor. The profits they make go into capital. The savings of the workers also go into capital. That capital enables businesses and industries to purchase the tools and equipment that make the workers more productive. More production means higher revenues and profits. That means higher wages for the workers.

That’s the system that once characterized the United States. No income tax. No estate tax. No Social Security tax. No Medicare tax. No welfare programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education grants, community grants, bailouts, foreign aid, public housing, food stamps, farm subsidies, etcetera. That was the key to wealth, especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. It’s not a coincidence that the poor were flooding American shores every day, leaving the lands of statism to come to the land of free markets and unlimited accumulation of wealth.

Does everyone get wealthy in a genuinely free market? Of course not. Some businesses go out of business. Some people make bad investments. That’s the nature of life. What matters, as far as individual liberty is concerned, is: (1) that everyone have the right to become wealthy by engaging in free enterprise (that is, free of government control) and accumulating unlimited amounts of wealth in the process; and (2) a free market raises the overall standard of living for people living in that society.

The problem is that once the progressives realized that there were people getting rich, including people who had been poor before they became rich, that drove the progressives batty. The great sins of envy and covetousness took control over their minds. Their obsession became to convert America’s system to a welfare state, one by which they could use the state to “equalize” wealth.

Why is the United States besieged by economic crises today? The same reason it’s besieged by foreign-policy crises: Because Americans, following the siren song of the progressives and, for that matter, the interventionists, abandoned the principles of liberty, free markets, and a constitutional republic with their embrace of socialism, interventionism, and military empire. What better time to reverse the statist victory than now?

More HERE

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The corrupt "earmark" process still thriving

Some lawmakers were fired by voters this year while others gave notice, but that hasn't stopped the departing public servants from charging up a storm on the nation's credit card.

With Congress angling to finish the lame-duck session this week, a major piece of unfinished business is a $1.27 trillion omnibus appropriations bill. Without the bill or a stopgap measure, the government will shut down after Dec. 18.

That "must-pass" quality has turned the bill into a magnet for earmarks for lawmakers from both parties, including several senators who lost their bids for re-election or are otherwise leaving office. They're seizing their last chance to send money back home, stuffing the bill with 543 earmarks worth about $882 million.

They're hardly alone. Their colleagues who are returning next year have larded up the bill as well. But these senators are almost out the door already. Their efforts to spend more while they still can point to the ingrained nature of Washington's spending culture.

The budget bill is a "continuing resolution," meaning it's intended to freeze government spending at the prior year's levels. Nevertheless, the total cost is $16 billion above last year's budget.

Earmarks are special requests by lawmakers that federal funds be spent on specific projects, almost invariably in their state or district. Though they're a small part of the overall budget, critics say the practice encourages an atmosphere of reckless spending in Washington.

Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., lost her re-election fight but is leaving with 99 earmarks; Kit Bond, R-Mo., is retiring but taking home 76; Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., also retiring, is taking 57 home; Arlen Specter, D-Pa., lost his primary but is taking 96 earmarks as a consolation prize; George Voinovich, R-Ohio, also retiring, is bringing 68 home; Jim Bunning, R-Ky., forced into retirement by his colleagues, is getting 21 as his going-away gift; Robert Bennett, R-Utah, another primary loser, is taking home 73; Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who is becoming governor of his state, is bringing 39; Judd Gregg, R-N.H., another retiree, is taking a relatively modest 13; and retiring Evan Bayh, D-Ind., is taking just one.

Only one exiting senator, Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is leaving Capitol Hill without an earmark to his name. None of the other senators' offices could be reached by IBD.

Some notable earmarks include Lincoln's $1.8 million for the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Arkansas; Lincoln's $1 million for "endophyte research" (it's a type of harmless plant fungi); Bond's $556,000 to study the soybean cyst nematode, a roundworm that eats soybean roots; Dorgan's $7 million for the Center for Nano-scale Energy in North Dakota; Bennett's $16 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and Voinovich's $700,000 for the Ohio-Israel Agriculture Initiative.

The rush has disgusted some GOP budget hawks such as Arizona's John McCain, Oklahoma's Tom Coburn and South Carolina's Jim DeMint. They have vowed a fight to strip earmarks from the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is resisting, accusing Republicans of trying to shut down the government.

"It's going to be a procedural game of chicken," said a Senate GOP staffer. "Reid is clearly operating under the assumption that he can dare us to do a government shutdown. We'll frame it as: 'Will they risk a shutdown to protect their earmarks?' We think we win that battle." The staffer noted that there is no GOP opposition to passing the underlying budget bill, just the earmarks.

More HERE

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FCC's 'net neutrality' puts new Congress to the test

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apparently is headed for a 3-2 party-line vote to regulate the Internet on Dec. 21, which Commissioner Robert M. McDowell (a stalwart free-market champion who opposes the regulations) points out is the darkest day of the year. In doing so, the FCC is putting the new Congress to a key first test of whether it can muster the will to overturn the Obama administration's backdoor efforts to push a far-left agenda through regulation.

Regulating the Internet under the banner of so-called network neutrality has been a far-left cause celebre for about eight years. The scare story has always been that if government doesn't step in immediately, the phone and cable companies will block access to websites, interfere with traffic and otherwise ruin the Internet. It hasn't happened, and it won't happen, because of competition. It works. A company that messed with its customers would lose them to a competitor. And competition is only increasing as next-generation wireless becomes an increasingly viable option for home broadband Internet.

But the "problem" the left has been trying to solve is something much bigger than the network-management practices of the phone and cable companies. The left is trying to strike a blow against the free-market system itself, as the leading proponent of these regulations, Robert W. McChesney, founder of the lobbying group Free Press, made clear when he said:

"You will never, ever, in any circumstance, win any struggle at any time. That being said, we have a long way to go. At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's press secretary, Jen Howard, came to the FCC from Mr. McChesney's Free Press, where she served in the same capacity. The FCC's chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, co-authored a Free Press report calling for severe regulation of political talk radio. Mr. McChesney's big-picture strategy looms large at the commission, and the new network-neutrality regulations will move us toward his goal by chilling innovation in network practices and business arrangements by adding unnecessary regulatory interference.

While the FCC is legally an independent agency, under Mr. Genachowski it is a clear extension of the White House. President Obama himself said: "I will take a back seat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality," and the White House has endorsed the FCC's latest power grab. Mr. Genachowski, a Harvard Law School friend of Mr. Obama's and one of his top fundraisers, is one of the most frequent visitors to the White House. Official visitor logs show 78 visits, including at least 11 personal meetings with the president.

These Obama-FCC regulations have been rejected already by Congress and the American people. More than 300 members of Congress signed letters of opposition to FCC Internet regulation, and just 27 have sponsored Rep. Edward J. Markey's bill to impose network-neutrality rules. The bill has not even been introduced in the Senate this Congress. Last Congress, there were just 11 Senate co-sponsors. (Mr. Obama was one of them.) During the recent election, the issue proved an embarrassment for Democrats. A group called the Progressive Change Campaign Committee touted a net-neutrality pledge signed by 95 candidates. All 95 lost.

This sets up a crystal-clear test case of whether the Obama administration can get away with ignoring the election, Congress, the legitimate legislative process and the American people to force a big-government power grab through a regulatory back door.

To pass the test, the House should pass a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, overturning the network-neutrality order. Senate Republicans then can force a Senate vote with a petition of just 30 senators and force a floor vote that would require just 51 votes to pass. The Congressional Review Act would protect the privileged resolution from filibuster. The Senate has 60 legislative days from when the order is issued on Dec. 21 before the privileged status is lost.

More HERE

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The "Wage and Hour Division": We Can Help Prolong the Recession

Since approximately day two of his administration, President Obama has boasted about what he has done since "day one." Actually, day one was relatively harmless. It was only a half day, and Obama spent it delivering another vapid speech, having a long lunch, and reviewing a boring parade. But on day ten, January 29th, 2009, he began his project of giving employers additional reasons not to hire American workers. On that day he proudly signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which allows employees more time to sue employers for alleged pay discrimination.

And from that beginning, the project of exacerbating unemployment and prolonging the recession has been carried out on a broad front of initiatives. The government has borrowed capital and diverted it to less productive uses under the guise of stimuli. Complex new mandates and penalties regarding employee health insurance have been imposed on employers. Further uncertainty has been created by thousands of pages of impending financial legislation and rules and by the possibilities that new energy taxes will be imposed and that President Bush's tax cuts will soon expire.

The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has pitched in and done its part. Under the direction of Deputy Administrator Nancy J. Leppink, a stereotypically narrow and humorless bureaucrat, the WHD has taken an adversarial approach to employers. The WHD has hired 250 field investigators to police employers and expects to hire 90 more with funds allocated in the Department of Labor's fiscal year 2011 budget. At a "stakeholder forum" in May, Leppink said she couldn't understand why the WHD should, as it had in the past, give a break to employers who come forward and acknowledge past violations.

In March the WHD announced that it was ending its longstanding practice of issuing opinion letters responding to questions from employers about how labor laws apply to their situations. The questions frequently concerned whether a type of job would be classified as exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Rather than responding in opinion letters to employers' questions about their specific situations, the WHD now issues "administrator interpretations" setting forth general interpretations of laws and regulations. The WHD claims that issuing administrator interpretations instead of opinion letters "will be a much more efficient and productive use of resources," but so far it has only issued three of them.

While the WHD has ended its service of providing employers with opinions on the classification of their employees, it is preparing to issue regulations requiring employers to render opinions on that subject to the WHD. Next month a notice of proposed rulemaking is expected to be issued on rules under which"[a]ny employers that seek to exclude workers from the FLSA's coverage will be required to perform a classification analysis, disclose that analysis to the worker, and retain that analysis to give to WHD enforcement personnel who might request it." This shift is consistent with the adversarial objective the WHD acknowledged in its Congressional Budget Justification: "WHD's regulatory initiatives will be undertaken with an objective of determining where there are opportunities to shift the burden of compliance to the employer. . . ."

And so the businesses that the administration would like to induce into hiring people become the enemy if they do. On the bright side, however, the WHD has adopted a cheerful new slogan, "We Can Help." They surely can, but if only they wouldn't.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Are You Engaging in Interstate Commerce by Doing Nothing?

During Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings last summer, Sen. Tom Coburn asked her whether a law requiring Americans to eat their fruits and vegetables could be justified as an exercise of the federal government's constitutional authority to "regulate commerce ... among the several states." Kagan's stubborn resistance to answering Coburn's question suggested it was not as wacky as it may have seemed.

In fact, the Oklahoma Republican was merely applying President Obama's logic in defending the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's requirement that Americans purchase government-approved health insurance. According to Obama, the federal government can make you do something if your failure to do it, combined with similar inaction by others, has a "substantial effect" on interstate commerce. By rejecting that premise on Monday, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson took a stand for the principle that Congress may exercise only those powers that are specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

It's about time someone did. Over the years, the Supreme Court, acceding to the legislative branch's power grabs, has transformed a provision aimed at eliminating internal trade barriers into an all-purpose excuse for nearly anything Congress decides to do.

In 1942, for instance, the court ruled that the Commerce Clause authorized punishing a farmer for violating federal crop quotas by growing wheat for his own consumption. Although the grain never left his farm, let alone crossed state lines, the court reasoned that such self-sufficiency, writ large, had a "substantial economic effect" on interstate commerce in wheat. In 2005, the court used similar logic to uphold federal prosecution of patients who grow marijuana for their own medical use.

Thus was the power to regulate interstate commerce deemed to cover activities that were neither interstate nor commercial. But as broad as those rulings were, Hudson wrote in response to a lawsuit by the state of Virginia, both involved people who chose to do something (grow wheat or pot) that "placed the subject within the stream of commerce."

The health insurance requirement, by contrast, applies to anyone living in the United States. For Hudson, this lack of choice was decisive. "Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market," he wrote. "At its core, the dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance -- or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage -- it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

Hudson rejected the Obama administration's argument that the inactivity of people who don't buy medical coverage is illusory because they are de facto choosing to pay for their health care in some other way. "This broad definition of the economic activity subject to congressional regulation lacks logical limitation and is unsupported by Commerce Clause jurisprudence," he wrote. "The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the (insurance mandate) would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers."

In Obama's view, the failure to buy medical coverage can be treated as a federal offense because that failure, aggregated across millions of people, has a substantial effect on the interstate market in health care. But the same thing can be said of the failure to exercise, the failure to get enough sleep, the failure to brush your teeth, the failure to wear a coat in cold weather and the failure to eat a proper diet.

Which brings us back to Coburn's question about a federal fruit-and-veggie mandate. Although he presented himself as a strict constructionist worried about Kagan's "expansive view of the Commerce Clause," Coburn brags about writing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Guess which provision of the Constitution supposedly justifies that egregious overextension of federal power. Like the medical marijuana case, this contradiction shows that a properly limited federal government is not necessarily something that conservatives welcome or that progressives should fear.

SOURCE

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Why Do People Believe in Fantasies?

John Stossel

We human beings sure are gullible. Polls report that 27 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, and 25 percent in astrology. Others believe mediums, fortunetellers, faith healers and assorted magical phenomena.

I'd think the astrologers or the psychics or the ghost hunters would be eager to prove they were for real. Not only would they convince skeptics, they'd make a million dollars. That's what James Randi, the magician, author and debunker of bogus claims, will pay anyone who can prove he or she actually has an ability that can't be explained by science.

"All people have to do is make a claim, come to us, fill out the form, arrange a protocol, and then we have somebody else do the test," Randi says. He won't do the test himself, he says, because when psychics failed in the past, they claimed that Randi put out "evil vibrations" to thwart their powers.

Has anyone taken up the challenge? "We've done over 200 of them all over the world."

These days, TV is filled with commercials that claim that a bracelet will make people stronger. One shows people who are easily pulled over when they're not wearing the bracelet, but who withstand the pulling when wearing one.

I asked Randi the secret of this apparently sincere demonstration of the power of the bracelet. Apparently, when the subject wears the bracelet, the demonstrator covertly props him up. But even the test subject doesn't notice.

Why do so many people believe in such "magic"? "They want magic answers." Also, the media "promote interest and belief in these things because sponsors love it. It sells products."

It's good that Randi and occasional TV reporters expose the sellers of such "magic." But after I did that for 25 years, I concluded that the harm done by those hucksters is minor compared to the scams perpetuated by politicians.

They promise fiscal responsibility. Then they spend like drunken sailors. They promise to cure poverty. Then their programs make it worse. They promise to create jobs. But then they make life so complex and unpredictable that entrepreneurs are afraid to create jobs.

Almost none of their promises come true. But few people approach government with the skepticism it deserves.

Whether you believe in God -- or psychics, or global warming -- that's your business. I may think you're stupid, but if you waste your money on, say, a "strength" bracelet, you only harm yourself.

But being gullible about government hurts everyone. Government is force. When it sells us bunk, we have to pay even if we don't believe in or want it. If we don't pay up, men with guns will make sure we do. It's good to be skeptical. It's really good to be skeptical about government.

SOURCE

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Changing America

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Thomas Sowell, in "Dismantling America," said in reference to President Obama, "That such an administration could be elected in the first place, headed by a man whose only qualifications to be president of the United States at a dangerous time in the history of the world were rhetoric, style and symbolism -- and whose animus against the values and institutions of America had been demonstrated repeatedly over a period of decades beforehand -- speaks volumes about the inadequacies of our educational system and the degeneration of our culture."

Obama is by no means unique; his characteristics are shared by other Americans, but what is unique is that no other time in our history would such a person been elected president. That says a lot about the degeneration of our culture, values, thinking abilities and acceptance of what's no less than tyranny.

As Sowell says, "Barack Obama is unlike any other President of the United States in having come from a background of decades of associations and alliances with people who resent this country and its people." In 2008, Americans voted for Obama's change. Let's look at some of it.

Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius threatened that there would be "zero tolerance" for "misinformation" in response to an insurance company executive who said that ObamaCare would create costs that force up health insurance premiums. That's not only an attack on our constitutionally guaranteed free speech rights but an official threat against people who express views damaging to the administration.

Not to be outdone by his HHS secretary's attack on free speech, Obama wants full disclosure of the names of people who were backers of campaign commercials critical of his administration, saying that there has been a "flood of deceptive attack ads sponsored by special interests, using front groups with misleading names." Disclosure would leave administration critics open to government and mob retaliation.

Obama and his congressional and union allies have lectured us that socialized medicine is the cure for the nation's ills, but I have a question. If socialized medicine, Obamacare, is so great for the nation, why permit anyone to be exempted from it? It turns out that as of the end of November, Obama's Health and Human Services secretary has issued over 200 waivers to major labor unions such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union and Transport Workers Union of America and major companies such as McDonald's and Darden Restaurants, which operates Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Keep in mind that the power to grant waivers is also the power not to grant waivers. Such power can be used to reward administration friends and punish administration critics by saddling them with millions of dollars of health care costs.

Obama's heath care legislation contains deviousness that has become all too common in Washington. What was sold to the American people as health care reform legislation includes a provision that would more heavily regulate and tax gold coin and bullion transactions. Whether gold and bullion transactions should or should not be more heavily regulated and taxed is not the issue. The administration's devious inclusion of it as a part of health care reform is.

Fighting government intrusion into our lives is becoming increasingly difficult for at least two reasons. The first reason is that educators at the primary, secondary and university levels have been successful in teaching our youngsters to despise the values of our Constitution and the founders of our nation -- "those dead, old, racist white men." Their success in that arena might explain why educators have been unable to get our youngsters to read, write and compute on a level comparable with other developed nations; they are too busy proselytizing students.

The second reason is we've become a nation of thieves, accustomed to living at the expense of one another and to accommodate that we're obliged to support tyrannical and overreaching government. Adolf Hitler had it right when he said, "How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."

SOURCE

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Zionist sharks?

A German tourist was mauled to death by a shark off Egypt's Red Sea coast Sunday, but if popular rumors on the street are to be believed, it was the Israelis who did it.

The attack came days after authorities claimed they had hunted and killed a shark believed to have injured three foreign tourists in previous incidents.

The Egyptian government says that the attacks occurred because a trawler dumped dead sheep into the Red Sea which caused a feeding "frenzy". Marine biologists say overfishing may have forced the sharks to look in new waters for food.

While Egyptian media are treating the incidents as rare, perhaps in a bid to encourage the millions of foreign tourists who visit Sinai's coast every year that the area is safe, there have been several reports in the past decade of shark attacks.

That hasn't dampened the imagination of conspiracy theorists, however. A popular account has it that Israel is "dumping" hungry sharks in the Red Sea in a bid to weaken Egypt's thriving tourism industry.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, foreign visitors to Egypt poured nearly $11 billion into the economy, with growth forecast for 2011 and 2012 as European and North American economies rebound. The tourism sector is also a major source of employment.

One tourism company operator who owns a small fleet of mini-buses that cater to Cairo's tourist spots told me that Israel wants Egypt to lose one of its most vital economic resources so that it can toe the line on the Palestinians.

A waiter at a popular cafe went further and theorized that the deadly fires in Northern Israel were God's way of punishing the Israelis for orchestrating the shark attacks. "Look at how God has brought Israel to its knees as it asks the world - even Egypt - for help in putting out the fires," he said.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Democracy strong down under: "Australia is the sixth most democratic nation in the world, a new study shows. The British-based Economist Intelligence Unit has found that while Australia rose four positions since the last rankings two years ago, there had been a general decline in democracy across the globe. Norway has been ranked the world's most democratic nation followed by Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia. France, Italy, Greece and Slovenia dropped from the "full democracies" category and are now considered "flawed democracies." The report also put the United States and the United Kingdom both near the bottom of the list of full democracies. "In the US there has been an erosion of civil liberties in recent years related to the fight against terrorism," Mr Kekic said."

Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship: "Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee. … The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.”

Campaign against Wikileaks is lawless: "Anyone who values the First Amendment ought to oppose the campaign to ‘get’ Assange by any means necessary. In a free society, you can’t just ‘change the law’ to persecute someone you don’t like, and you can’t abuse your position to silence speech you oppose.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sarah Palin and the Haters of American Normal

We are just south of Christmas, and the nation's insiders -- self-proclaimed blue-bloods by birth and/or worldview -- have declared open season on Sarah Palin. Crazed left and sclerotic right have united in common purpose -- "hellbent," as Politico put it -- to rid this nation of the possibility of a presidency that would most assuredly end in "apocalyptic disaster" after which "the survivors will envy the dead" (or so says that fading leftist icon, The New Republic). Stop her now -- or we may end up with a normal American at the helm.

Sarah Palin is just too dumb to understand how lousy it is to be in this materialist and fascist society, this hateful America, the Atlantic tells us. Scorn laces the left as New York Times opinion writers let us know that behind the deceptive Palin smile "lies anger" and an unwillingness to accept the decline that those who know better have visited upon us out of wisdom and necessity. Shut up and bowl (or hunt or fish or tailgate, or any one of the thousands of pursuits those with little culture and no brains participate in), they say, and leave the decisions to us.

Meanwhile on the right, MSNBC's house conservative, Joe Scarborough, says it's time for Republican insiders to "man up and confront Sarah Palin." She's poison for responsible (read: insider) government. Bush consigliere and FOXNews analyst Karl Rove is leading the charge to stop this outsider, whom he regards as "unsuitable" for the presidency, which is a job best left to those who brought us porous borders, intrusive regulation, and exploding government spending. (In some respects, the Obama reign is simply the Bush presidency on steroids.) From left and right, insiders all, the anger is palpable at what James Lewis of American Thinker terms "American exceptionalism in the flesh -- and downright attractive flesh at that."

Why do they hate her? Lewis hits the nail on the head. Sarah Palin is quintessentially American. She is a throwback to the days of the founders, when citizens became politicians because the common good demanded service -- not because political office offered wealth, power, and a pool of Beltway interns ripe for sexual exploitation -- and followed their tenure with a return to private life. But we now live in the age of professional politicians, the self-proclaimed best and brightest who make decisions for an electorate too simple to understand "the facts or the truth." Or so says Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts politician who is to "haughty" what Paris Hilton is to "self-involved."

And so anger and angst bubble over, spilling out as the grandees realize Sarah Palin is just so darned...normal! Lewis describes her as a "beautiful, strong, intelligent, articulate, healthy-looking, truth-telling...gun-totin', sports-lovin', all-American woman." And that "sunny disposition" sets them off, for Sarah Palin is a fiery red poker plunged into the pasty white of the collective metrosexual gut. Elizabeth Wurtzel, the best-selling author who blogs for the Atlantic, howls with pain at the realization that Palin is actually "the most visible working mother and female politician in America, that she is the best exemplar of a woman with an equal marriage, that she has put up with less crap from fewer men than those of us who" are the official feminists within the media and political elites.

That's not fair, Wurtzel screams, admitting that the truth "drives me absolutely bonkers." This mainstay of the New York literati oozes the anger and jealousy so typical of what New York Times columnist David Brooks proudly calls the "educated class." And so they scream and whine and put out milk and cookies in hopes that God and the Santa they've chased from the public space would please, please, please...stop Sarah Palin!

What gives her the right to be happy, asks Wurtzel? Palin, who is "not very thoughtful, not very bright," is so darned ordinary that she doesn't understand the horrors of American life. But Wurtzel does, having first attracted attention with her New York Times bestseller chronicling the depravities visited upon her by the fruits of American exceptionalism. You see, Wurtzel survived the horror of being raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the shame of enduring the nation's best private schools, the depravity of having parents who paid for summer camps and Harvard -- small wonder she plunged into "catatonic despair, masochism, and hysterical crying." Doesn't Palin know, Wurtzel cries, that...America sucks? Karl Rove knows, Keith Olbermann and Kathleen Parker and Elliot Spitzer and Barack Obama know -- that's why they're smart.

But Sarah Palin is not Elizabeth Wurtzel smart. Nor is she Karl Rove savvy, Keith Olbermann articulate, or Barack Obama cool. No, Sarah Palin is just plain normal. And not just any normal -- she is American normal, the kind of normal that wrenched a nation away from a calcified European aristocracy and established what Abraham Lincoln described as "a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." It is no coincidence that the United States is the single nation that, for the entirety of its existence, has had immigrants fighting to be included in a community structured upon individual "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," as our Declaration of Independence puts it. And now that normal is being challenged by those who want to control every aspect of American life.

Enter Sarah Palin and American normal. Their reaction, James Lewis notes, is "Oh, Gawwwdd! Is this 'Father Knows Best' or what?" And the only answer is...yes, and "Leave It to Beaver" and "Happy Days," too. It's a basic respect for American values and Judeo-Christian tradition and the belief that each one of us matters. And now throw in a bit of "South Park" and you have a cutting-edge conservative savvy that recognizes that this country, as rude and crude and flawed as it gets, should be admired and preserved.

Sarah Palin for president? The screams of the elites are in a crescendo, and it's not even 2011. The roar is deafening: She's not a Karl Rove or Nancy Pelosi, they cry, a John McCain or a Barack Obama, a Hillary Clinton or a Lindsey Graham. She's not Washington or New York or Manhattan or San Francisco. She's Sarah Palin, and she's Alaska, for Obama's sake!

And your point is...?

SOURCE

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Labor Union Employees Find Favor With the Obama Administration

“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”—Barack Obama, during his remarks when welcoming senior staff and cabinet secretaries, Jan. 21, 2009.

Obviously Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis chose to ignore this part of her boss’s speech.

The Department of Labor has made no effort towards making labor unions more transparent. In fact, it has made them less transparent while holding up transparency laws for private businesses and corporations that choose not to unionize.

Just last week the Department of Labor made another move confirming its labor union favoritism. The department rescinded the T-1 form requiring labor unions to disclose information about their trusts to their members and the general public.

A summary of the Department’s action stated, “the trust reporting required under the rule is overly broad and is not necessary to prevent the circumvention and evasion of the Title II reporting requirements.”

This gives labor unions another way to hide behind their collected member’s money.

“Union employees don’t want their members to know how much they’re making even though the members are the ones paying their salary,” says Don Todd, former Department of Labor official and current research director at Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

While Todd served at the Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine Chao during the Bush Administration, the LM-2 form, which disclose the salaries of union officers and employees, underwent some changes to make them more transparent.

“As it was, union officers had to list their gross incomes, but didn’t have to list any other benefits,” Todd says. “The benefits were listed on the very bottom of a form, but nowhere connected to the union employee’s name.”

The new LM-2 form created under the Bush Administration changed all that and forced employees of labor unions to list all benefits and salaries next to their name. Benefits include such items as disbursements for life insurance, health insurance and pensions. “We ran into one union guy whose benefits contributed more to his salary than his actual gross income amount, but since he only had to list his gross income, union members would have no idea of how much he was making,” Todd says.

The new LM-2 disclosure form was approved and scheduled to go into effect the next fiscal year, which would have been 2009. Obama then took office and delayed the start date of the form and later rescinded it altogether.

This is no hidden pattern by the Obama Administration. It clearly favors unions — not union members — but the employees and officers. Currently the Administration is revisiting conflict of interest reports. “One more step to rolling back transparency forms,” says Nathan Mehrens, former special assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Programs and current ALG counsel.

As labor union dues become more mysterious leaving union members and the America people wondering where the money is going, the true irony of it all resides on the union AFL-CIO’s Web page.

Executive PayWatch, found on the AFL-CIO website, highlights various corporations and their top executive’s salaries. A visitor to the site can search by state, company name, industry, or even see a list of the top 100 highest-paid CEOs. The irony is, while private industries have to retain a high level of transparency, which the AFL-CIO is quick to point out, the union itself gets to hide its top earners and benefits packages from everyone—even those paying their salaries.

Because labor unions have the Obama Administration on their side, Mehrens says misrepresentation of salaries will continue to occur. He remembers seeing the paperwork from one “labor organization that reported on its Form LM-2 total disbursements of $461,971, $460,203, and $244,780 to certain individual officers. This disclosure did not take into account that these same officers and employees also received $181,297, $184,397, and $161,240 respectively as contributions to their employee benefit plans. These benefits payments were disclosed to the IRS but do not appear itemized by officers and employees on the Form LM-2.”

As far as leading by the rule of the law and transparency, it seems Obama spoke too quickly and Secretary Solis somehow knew to not take his comment seriously.

Maybe he should have been more specific and made known to the American people that the transparency laws didn’t apply to his friends.

SOURCE

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Red tape must be cut to get Americans back to work

Mark R. Warner

If Washington expects to partner with the private sector to lead the effort toward economic recovery, we must address the regulatory uncertainty felt by many of our small and large businesses.

Britain has been working on regulatory reform since 2005, and officials there have posted some impressive results in developing an inventory of regulations as well as setting ambitious targets for reducing red tape.

Now, no one is seriously questioning the need for common-sense rules of the road to protect American consumers, public health and our environment, especially in the wake of the BP oil-rig blowout in the Gulf of Mexico and the 2008 near-meltdown of several of our nation's leading financial firms.

But our current regulatory framework actually favors those federal agencies that consistently churn out new red tape. In this town, expanded regulatory authority typically is rewarded with additional resources and a higher bureaucratic profile, and there is no process or incentive for an agency to eliminate or clean up old regulations.

As a former CEO, I think the best option is to adopt a regulatory "pay as you go" system. I am drafting legislation that would require federal agencies to identify and eliminate one existing regulation for each new regulation they want to add.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the estimated annual cost of federal regulations in 2008 exceeded $1.75 trillion. The Office of Management and Budget says that the federal government has issued more than 132,000 final rules since 1981, and over 1,200 of those rules have an estimated economic impact of greater than $100 million each.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

VA: Federal judge rules ObamaCare mandate unconstitutional: "A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional, setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the ‘individual mandate’ requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge’s findings in a federal appeals court.”

New poll indicates 40% of physicians will retire or find other work under ObamaCare: "When we said nearly half of U.S. doctors might close their practices or retire early rather than live under the Democrats' health overhaul, we were heavily criticized. The critics, though, were wrong. Four in nine doctors responding to an IBD/TIPP poll sent out in August 2009 said they "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if Congress passed what has become known as ObamaCare. That means as many as 360,000 physicians have plans to be doing something other than treating the growing number of patients in this country. The doctors also told us - 67% to 22%, with 11% not responding - that they expected fewer students to apply for medical school in the future if the plan became law"

More disincentives to work, thanks to the federal government and the stimulus package: "Thanks to food stamps, Medicaid, and housing subsidies, and other welfare benefits, many ‘poor’ people have far more disposable income than self-supporting households earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year. Veronique de Rugy points to a finding that ‘a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year’ — even excluding benefits from Supplemental Security Income. ‘America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.’”

Communism’s persistent pull: "Even today, when the horrors of communism are known to everyone, social democrats the world over continue to denounce and undermine private property rights and seek to replace them with some form of collectivized property. Since the late nineteenth century, most intellectuals have been hostile to private property rights and have advocated, if not outright communism, at least some ‘third way’ closer to it than to a regime of full-fledged private property.”

Assange tops “Person of the Year” reader poll: "The man behind WikiLeaks has won the most votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll. Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Ergodan, Prime Minister of Turkey. But Assange wasn’t the winner in all aspects — Lady Gaga trounced him on Facebook, receiving 65,417 ‘likes’ on Facebook to Assange’s 45,643.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Proof that liberals are sheep

My heading above is mainly spin. I put it up to counter the Leftist spin that has been put on the findings below. Several interpretations are possible but by far the safest conclusion is that it needs much more research before we do ANY generalizing from the admittedly rather striking set of findings below. There is a considerable history of perceptual findings such as those below not generalizing at all, the research on perceptual "rigidity", for instance

It goes without saying that conservatives and liberals don't see the world in the same way. Now, research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln suggests that is exactly, and quite literally, the case.

In a new study, UNL researchers measured both liberals' and conservatives' reaction to "gaze cues" -- a person's tendency to shift attention in a direction consistent with another person's eye movements, even if it's irrelevant to their current task -- and found big differences between the two groups.

Liberals responded strongly to the prompts, consistently moving their attention in the direction suggested to them by a face on a computer screen. Conservatives, on the other hand, did not.

Why? Researchers suggested that conservatives' value on personal autonomy might make them less likely to be influenced by others, and therefore less responsive to the visual prompts.

"We thought that political temperament may moderate the magnitude of gaze-cuing effects, but we did not expect conservatives to be completely immune to these cues," said Michael Dodd, a UNL assistant professor of psychology and the lead author of the study.

Liberals may have followed the "gaze cues," meanwhile, because they tend to be more responsive to others, the study suggests.

"This study basically provides one more piece of evidence that liberals and conservatives perceive the world, and process information taken in from that world, in different ways," said Kevin Smith, UNL professor of political science and one of the study's authors.

"Understanding exactly why people have such different political perspectives and where those differences come from may help us better understand the roots of a lot of political conflict."

The study involved 72 people who sat in front of a white computer screen and were told to fixate on a small black cross in its center. The cross then disappeared and was replaced by a drawing of a face, but with eyes missing their pupils. Then, pupils appeared in the eyes, looking either left or right. Finally, a small, round target would appear either on the left or right side of the face drawing.

Dodd said the participants were told that the gaze cues in the study did not predict where the target would appear, so there was no reason for participants to attend to them. "But the nature of social interaction tends to make it very difficult to ignore the cues, even when they're meaningless," he said.

SOURCE

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Obama nominee says: "We are coming for the media and that’s not all"

Blatant totalitarian thinking from Van Jones. Commentary on it below. Video at link below

Tell me something I don’t know. The big take-away that people are getting from this is how they want to take over the media. We already know that Al Not-So-Sharpton is meeting with the FCC soon to put pressure on them to create new ways of regulating talk radio for the explicit purpose of taking down Rush Limbaugh. It’s all about baby steps, and this is one of them. Once the new regulation is in place, then they will use it against those whoever they want to shut down, like Rush, Hannity, Levin, Beck, and so on. And part of that process will be figuring out a way to regulate cable, i.e. Fox News, so they can do the same with that.

Look, anyone who doesn’t think they are serious about this is foolish. But this is about much more than the media.

Honestly, the part that I thought was most important from this wasn’t about the media, but what he says about the next two years. They are gaming, and gaming hard to win the hearts and minds of the public. Think about it. Every time they mention Republicans behind a microphone they are demonizing them as racists, terrorists, hostage-takers, selfish white men, slurpee-drinking incompetent boobs, etc. And for the next 2 years, who will they say is governing? We all know that Republicans can’t pass major legislation because they don’t have the Senate or the Executive, but the Democrats will do their damnedest to make it look like the Republicans are so extreme that they can’t get anything done. They will work even harder to paint Republicans as extremists and will say they can’t work with them because they are outside the mainstream.

Mark Levin is so dead on the money with this that it’s pathetic. The radical message is being set up to be the moderate mainstream message, which will leave the conservative message looking extreme, especially to those who aren’t paying attention. This is why we need the Republicans to stop behaving passively like gentlemen opening the door for a nice lady, and to put on the camo and arm themselves with message cannons. The only way the public will resist this radical message is if Republicans give them a choice and start calling these people out for who they are, and with a very loud voice.

You may be thinking right now that they have the media and how can we overcome that? Well I would say just look at Chris Christie and tell me that his message hasn’t gotten out there in New Jersey. A lot of people nowadays are wanting to beat up on him because he continues to use his loud voice to tell the truth. Just look at the media, as they are trying to paint him as a bully. But the man knows what he is doing and is not going to let them control the debate. He will continue to hammer his message, that the Unions are corrupt and are stealing money from the citizens of New Jersey, and that a more fiscal, smaller government is the only way to get out of this mess. And that’s what we need in DC.

Look, we’ve done a great job so far over the last 2 years with the Tea Parties, but if we relax now because we have a Republican House, then we risk losing everything we’ve worked for. The next 2 years are the most crucial if we want to get our country back and we MUST carry the torch for freedom even higher. We must force the Republicans to use every available chance to hammer home the message that the radicals are in DC and they are trying to steal our liberty, our country. And we must fight them off. That means calling the President out for who he is to, because he is one of them.

SOURCE

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America must not follow the British example

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, picked the wrong moment to drive down Regent Street in London en route to a Royal Variety performance the other night. Several hundred protestors attacked their car and cries of “off with their heads” and “Tory scum” were heard. Scary stuff. The images coming in from across the pond—images of violent protests in London—are disturbing to most Americans. But if some are tempted to find comfort in the idea that what is going on over there could never happen here, they should think again.

At issue in the United Kingdom is the announced policy change, more than a year under discussion and review, to subsidize less of the college tuition of students. In the recent past, the top amount (calculated here in dollars) a student would pay for a year’s tuition is $4,800. The proposed new cap is $14,500. Bear in mind that this is a system that subsidizes tuition at both public and private colleges, though our cousins have their “private” and “public” labels reversed, much like their driving lanes.

That’s right, the idea is that to go to “Oxbridge” (Oxford or Cambridge—think Harvard or Yale) will now cost a maximum of $14,500—a great deal by American standards. Though admittedly it was an even better deal at $4,800. Of course, the rest of the real cost was being paid by the taxpayer.

As a reference point, the current average cost of a year’s tuition at a private college in the United States is $27,293—nearly twice as much as the new British cap.

The current turbulence in Great Britain is a case study about what happens when a society tries to take from people something they have grown to see as part of what they are owed: an entitlement. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the protestors are young people accents this point. This is a generation that has no reason to see it any other way. They are already a generation removed from that era of electoral and cultural sanity in the realm known as the age of the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher.

Though she is in the twilight of her days, her very funeral plans being a national discussion, she must be aghast at what she is viewing on the “Telly.” But something she said long ago is very much at play right now in her nation, across the continent of Europe, and wherever the seeds of entitlement-driven protest are sown, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Indeed.

One of the saddest recent reports I’ve seen is one about a student urinating on the Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square. The statue has also been defaced with graffiti calling the great man various names, most too ugly to print. This is what happens when self-absorption reaches cultural critical mass. The lessons of the past are forgotten, and the keys to a good future are forsaken, all in a cult of “me-ism.”

Never mind that these bums (to use a Nixon term that just seems to fit) wouldn’t have a park to piss in if not for people like Mr. Churchill. He rallied a nation, including those college age at the time, to save the world. But back then, the people he worked with had been through the fiery trial of Great Depression-driven deprivation and likely had little of the sense of entitlement of subsequent generations. He once said: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery." Welcome to misery 101.

Writing in the U.K.’s Guardian, Gary Younge (a writer based in the U.S.) has suggested that current and recent student revolts around the world are a good thing. He wants that “their energy, enthusiasm, militancy, rage and raucousness might burn in us all.”

Younge sees the protests as nothing surprising because, “More than one in five people under the age of 25 in the EU is unemployed. In Spain the figure is 43%; in Greece 30%; in Italy 26%. Meanwhile the principle that education is a public good, to which all are entitled, all contribute, and all benefit through a more competitive economy, is in its death throes.” Did you catch that? The issue is that education is a basic good or right “to which all are entitled.”

Let’s think about this. If someone tries to take, say, your freedom of speech or worship away, would you fight for it? Yes. These are rights—rights that imply responsibilities. If someone tries to take your car away, would you resist that? Sure. It’s your property. It’s the natural response to something unfair and unjust. So it is logical that those protesting see what is being taken from them in the same way. Not saying they’re right—just conceding that they have no reason to think or feel otherwise. In a sense, they are entitled to their sense of entitlement. And that’s the root problem.

This is the long-term damage socialism does. It gets under the cultural skin and in its DNA and becomes part of the mix of life itself. Which is why Americans should be vigilant at this hour to make sure the recent turn away from this path to decadence becomes a significant directional cue for our immediate and long-term future. Because we, too, are at least a generation removed from the last time socialism was successfully stigmatized and marginalized in the age of Reagan.

Long before Ronald Reagan became our 40th President, while he served as Governor of California, he had his own encounter with student protestors at the University of California at Berkeley. Were he around today, he’d likely reprise what he said back then for the benefit of college students in the U.K and everywhere else: “Higher education is a privilege and not a right so these hoodlums should be thrown out. They are spoiled brats who do not deserve to be at a great state university.”

Now, that’d be a cool sound bite.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

More Democrat corruption: "The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today reacted with disgust to reports regarding a surreptitious move by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to legalize online gambling for just poker. The attempt is an abuse of the legislative process to benefit one of Sen. Reid’s largest campaign contributors, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., in Las Vegas... Both Politico and The Wall Street Journal have reported on Reid’s attempts to attach language to the tax bill that would legalize only online poker, which would benefit casinos in the state of Nevada disproportionately, and Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. in particular, since the company owns the World Series of Poker."

SSI: Another do-gooder program with unintended side effects: "A Globe investigation has found that this Supplemental Security Income program — created by Congress primarily to aid indigent children with severe physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and blindness — now largely serves children with relatively common mental, learning, and behavioral disorders such as ADHD. It has also created, for many needy parents, a financial motive to seek prescriptions for powerful drugs for their children. And once a family gets on SSI, it can be very hard to let go. The attraction of up to $700 a month in payments, and the near-automatic Medicaid coverage that comes with SSI approval, leads some families to count on a child’s remaining classified as disabled, even as his or her condition may be improving.”

Bureaucracy makes new drugs difficult to develop: "Make no mistake about it: we had more potential products than the company could put on the market. Development programs took over a decade, involved people from all over the company, and doctors from all over the world. Development was very, very expensive. Upjohn could only have about 20 compounds in development at any one time, and we were probably over-extended with that number.”

The Fed vastly expands moral hazard: "When the government bails out banks with shaky loans, it’s providing insurance after the fact. The banks expected it. They expect it in the future. The moral hazard persists and grows larger. They respond by maintaining and making more risky loans. The government promises all sorts of payoffs and wealth transfers that insure various groups. These all encourage greater risk-taking, which is the effect of the moral hazard.”

Six companies that haven’t wussed out of working with WikiLeaks: "Giants like PayPal, Amazon.com, Visa and MasterCard almost instantly crumbled under government (and p.r.) pressure to drop WikiLeaks, depriving the site of vital funding sources and online platforms. But other companies, some of them small, independent start-ups, have decided to risk the wrath of Joe Lieberman, the State Department, and their European counterparts and help keep WikiLeaks afloat by providing funding sources (yeah, you can now donate to WikiLeaks even if you only have Visa or MasterCard) and hosting the site. Here’s a list of companies that have stood by WikiLeaks …”

“F” as in Fed: "The Federal Reserve, America’s fatally conceited monetary central planner, is not terribly popular these days — which is cause for hope — and now we have a report card on the entire Fed era that strongly supports the view that we’d be better off without it. At the very least, as the authors suggest, the burden of proof is squarely on those who would retain the central bank.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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